Raised in Corsicana, Texas, Susan Hable Smith is the creative half of the NYC-based textile design firm, Hable Construction, which she founded with her entrepreneur sister Katharine Hable Sweeney in 1999. (The company is named after their grandfather's twentieth century road construction business back in Texas).
Although Hable Smith hasn't lived in Corsicana in years, the Lone Star State runs deep—and not just in her Texas twang. The designer has a lifelong obsession with hats that probably rubbed off on her somewhere in the aisles of the her hometown's Green's Western Wear. The result is an ever-expanding collection. "I can't return from a trip without buying a hat," she admits. "I pick them up wherever I am." A one-of-a-kind stand from an antique store in Bellport, NY, serves as an invitation to display the hats; unsurprisingly, it's now a decorative element and focal point in Hable Smith's sunny kitchen.
But don't get the wrong idea: the designer does not believe in collecting for the sake of collecting. "These hats are worn and loved," she says. "If it's sunny out, everyone in the family grabs a hat. If I have to go out and I haven't washed my hair, I grab a hat." Some of the hats on the stand belong to her children, ages three and five. The collection includes everything from a '60s vintage pom-pom style to a palm weave sombrero from Guatemala.
The best thing about having hats on prominent display in the home? "They're conversation starters," says Hable Smith. "People always want to talk about them."
Photograph: Courtesy of Susan Hable Smith.